At Payzone, like much of the country, we can’t get enough of our football and the madness of The Premier League. Since the league was formed 25 years ago, England’s top flight has played host to many special moments that have kept us coming back for more.
But are there lessons that our great SMEs can possibly learn from the money spinning and lucrative brand that is the Premier League? At first glance, this might seem a dubious link. But if you look a little deeper, you will see some interesting correlations. Let’s have a look at a few:
Young talent and the benefits of looking within
One of the biggest success stories of the premier league era was the domination of Man Utd from the mid-90s to the early 00s - a squad largely made up of youth team players. The team sheet read like a who’s who of English football. Beckham, Scholes, the Neville Brothers, Butt and of course Giggs. But many people didn’t feel this would work initially, leading to Alan Hansen famously declaring ‘you can't win anything with kids’. Oh, my was he proven wrong as this group went on to win a staggering amount of trophies.
If your business has exceptional young talent already, it might be a good idea to bring them through the company rather than externally recruiting. After all, who better than the people who already know your business and understand its values.
A new manager can turn around underperforming staff
Sometimes it is necessary to recruit someone with experience outside your business when a situation becomes difficult. This was certainly the case in 2007 when Roy Hodgson was appointed as manager of Fulham. Fulham were two points off safety and in real danger of being relegated. It didn’t start that well either, but a run of 12 points from the final five games kept them safe.
In challenging situations, a wise old head can make all the difference. Don’t be afraid to do this when necessary.
Outside investment can make all the difference
The Premier League’s global popularity has attracted a great deal of investment from overseas. This was nowhere more apparent than in the purchases of Chelsea in 2003 then a few years later with Manchester City in 2008. Both of these teams were relative underachievers before they were bought by billionaires.
Since this has happened, Chelsea and Man City have established themselves as the biggest teams in the country - winning many leagues, cups, and European trophies along the way.
If you are a start-up with a bright idea and manage to get significant funding, this could also have a similarly transformative effect on your business. But it takes work. Both of these clubs had to significantly alter their internal structures to get things right - proving it’s not just about the money itself, it’s how you use it.
The benefits of recruiting top talent can be enormous
As previously mentioned, it’s great to bring through young talent. But, sometimes it can be equally as effective to recruit people with proven pedigree. World class talent in their prime can elevate others to perform to higher levels. The Premier League is full of stories of fantastic talent that elevated their team to greater heights.
Cantona, Bergkamp, Ronaldo, Thierry Henry and more recent talents like Aguero, Hazard, and Sanchez have demonstrated how outstanding individuals can make all the difference in key moments. The same is true in the world of business. Don’t underestimate the benefits an outstanding talent can have on your existing team - even if they can be a bit of a diva sometimes.
Sometimes continuity is good, sometimes it isn’t
Continuity is something that has multiple benefits. It provides a clear sense of trajectory, expectations, and clarity for any organisation. But what if the parameters change? Take the case of Arsenal and its manager Arsene Wenger. Wenger is a unique case of a coach who has lasted for over 20 years - in the premier league, where most managers are lucky to have 20 months.
When Arsenal won last season’s FA Cup, many felt that it was the right time for the manager to bow out on a high. Instead, he signed a new contract - something which has divided the Arsenal supporters. Sometimes change is necessary and a different voice can refresh a team in need of some new ideas.